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When my son was born I wrote him a lengthy letter every week describing that week’s events, any milestones or changes, etc. I thought that for sure I would have no problem keeping this up throughout his childhood and for any other children that came along (ha ha ha ha ha) but as tends to be the case, by the time he hit 2 and I was pregnant with my daughter the letters shifted to monthly, as did my daughter’s when she was born. The real bummer is that I had high hopes of making these letters into photo books with pictures from every week, but sadly they are still just Word files on my computer. Maybe I’ll have time to create the books when my kids go off to college. To save all you other moms from repeating my mistakes, I’ve rounded up three simple ways to document your kids’ milestones without too much stress.

Chatbooks

This Utah company has been a favorite of mine since they started offering their super affordable 60- page softcover books as a way preserve the posts on your Instagram feed. In the years since they have expanded their offering to include hardcover books, and the sky is the limit when it comes to methods of creating your Chatbook. You can pull photos from various social media accounts, your phone, or your computer.

Chatbooks also offers the option of creating a book by hashtag, which would be a pretty efficient way to create a keepsake for your kids. Just create a hashtag for each child, then post once a week (or whatever frequency you like) on your Instagram account (I actually created a second private account for this purpose) with a few words about what they did that week. At the end of the year you should have enough posts to fill up one of these books, and you can order it for less than ten bucks! Easy as pie.

Promptly Journals

Perfect for those that want more of a traditional keepsake, Promptly Journals is the brainchild of a fellow Utah mom/graphic designer looking for a way to document her daughter’s entire childhood in one place. These beautiful linen covered journals eliminate the problem of staring at the blank pages of a journal wondering what to write by providing questions for each phase of your child’s life, from your pregnancy through their teen years. Prompts include questions like “is there any special significance to your child’s name?”, “what is your toddler’s favorite item of clothing?”, and “what are your teen’s dreams for the future?”

Qeepsake Baby Journal

I heard about this concept when a friend of mine posted about it on Facebook, and it truly doesn’t get any easier than this. Qeepsake was started by busy parents of five children, and the concept is simple: qeepsake texts you a daily question about your kid (something simple like “what makes your baby smile?”), you text back, and your entry is saved in their online journal. When you have more time you can access the account online and edit, add photos, etc. Qeepsake will be available for customers in the U.S. and Canada sometime in Spring 2016, but you can get early access by sharing the link with friends via social media or email.

Summertime is upon us, and that means spending more time outside! Keeping babies safe in the hot summer sun is imperative; sun damage is cumulative over a lifetime, and overexposure early in life can increase your risk for skin cancer. Practicing sun safety doesn’t have to mean keeping your children cooped up all day long; instead, a little forethought and preparation is all you need to keep your little ones safe on the playground and in the pool.

An infant’s limited amount of melanin, our skin’s naturally protective pigment, makes them especially susceptible to the damaging effects of sunlight. Unfortunately, sunscreen isn’t the answer for infants. Pediatricians advise not using sunscreen on babies 0-6 months old; the skin is too sensitive at this age for sunscreen. Instead, infants should have limited sun exposure by covering their body as much as possible and keeping them in the shade. Dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs, and choose a wide-brimmed hat to protect baby’s face and neck. I am partial to Swim Zip’s stylish and functional rashguards, sun hats, and sunsuits.

Taking early morning walks and evening strolls also limits the amount of sun exposure. The hours of 10 am to 4 pm are when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, so finding a shady spot in the middle of the day for your picnic or playground outing is essential. Shade isn’t always easy to come by, so consider keeping a baby pop-up shade dome in the car. I liked this one from Redmond Beach.

Once your baby reaches 6 months of age, you can use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. This type of sunscreen protects from harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you choose a spray-on sunscreen, be sure to mist it into your hands and then apply to your child. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before venturing outdoors, and should be reapplied every 2 hours or more often if swimming. Be generous when slathering on sunscreen; the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that most only apply half as much sunscreen as they should. A good rule of thumb is about half an ounce (enough to fill the palm of your toddler’s hand) to cover a child’s body. And even though it seems counterintuitive, cloudy days still necessitate skin protection; 80% of UV rays penetrate cloud coverings.

Choosing a sunscreen can be confusing; the Environmental Working Group recommends finding a brand of sunscreen that does not contain potential hormone disruptors like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and oxybenzone. Some of the suncreens on this list can be hard to find. Look for Kiss My Face and California Baby brands, both of which are easier to find in stores.

The best way to ensure your baby is safe in the sun is to make it easy on you – keep extra sunscreen, layers of clothing, and a hat in your diaper bag. You’ll be ready for impromptu outings and you and your little ones can safely soak up some vitamin D.

As new moms we tend to neglect our own self-care as our main focus becomes our newest addition(s).  Duo Diary allows you a space for self-care at a time when you are likely to neglect it, but also at a time when you need it the most.    

A Duo Diary is a portable journal that allows you to monitor your postpartum health and wellness while you care for your new baby. Track all of your baby's feedings including breastfeeding, bottle, formula, and pumping; monitor behaviors, patterns, sleep, diapers, and more on one side. On the other side, care for yourself with a food journal; track water intake, sleep, and exercise, plus keep notes on how you are feeling mentally and physically postpartum.

Studies have shown that the act of writing down is important in helping us process information, something that doesn't happen as well without the physical act of writing. The notes space can be used in so many helpful ways- jot down behaviors or patterns your baby is displaying, discover food sensitivities much faster, jot down emotions or any physical pain or issues you are noticing in yourself, keep track of questions for the pediatrician or OB, leave instructions for a sitter - the possibilities are endless. 

I am a great big ball of anxiety when I travel, and particularly when I fly. My brain becomes a worry machine, listing all of the what-if questions one after the other, killing any and all excitement for my trip. So, needless to say, adding a baby to my travel scenario just about sends me over the edge. However, because I can’t avoid flying all together, and because driving is not an option as it’s the only thing worse than flying, I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help ease anxiety while flying with baby.

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"This tee worked perfect for my pregnant belly, but is flowy enough to keep out for my postpartum days. It's so comfortable. It's light, durable and very flattering."

PERFECT FIT- 
Loose fitting and long
The softest, breathable, stretchy fabric.

 

EASY TO WEAR - 
The side slits provide easy breastfeeding access and accommodate a pregnancy belly. You can lift just the front of the shirt to nurse, while the back stays down.This is the perfect complement to wear over your Undercover Mama tanks.

PURCHASE HERE

"This is one of the softest shirts I have worn! It's so comfortable but also really cute and functional which is a perfect combination for me." 

PERFECT FOR NURSING AND PREGNANCY!


-Same great hook & loop design-one hand nursing access
-Works with ANY bra
-The most flattering sleeve length
-Trendy stripe print, the softest breathable fabric
-Great for pregnancy and breastfeeding
-Longer length works great with leggings

 

EASY TO NURSE: just lift the panel and unlatch your bra, leaving the shirt attached to the flap. This One-step process eliminates having to dig through layers of clothing.

PURCHASE HERE

These baby board books have a wonderful message about love. We picked our 3 favorites! These make great baby gifts.

1-You Are My I Love You

 

2-I Love You Through and Through

3-Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

An electric breast pump can be one of a nursing mama’s most valuable tools. Even if you don’t need to bottle feed your baby often, a pump can help maintain milk supply, relieve engorgement, and serves as a great backup in case an emergency comes up and you are unable to nurse your baby.

I remember registering for baby items when I was pregnant with my first baby and having some serious sticker shock when I saw the price tags on the electric breast pumps. I knew that I needed to get one, so I figured I would just cough up the few hundred bucks.

Luckily a co-worker of mine was pregnant at the same time and, as we compared baby prep checklists, mentioned that our health insurance plan covered the cost of a breast pump. I called my health insurance company and a representative said that the cost of my pump would be covered if A) I got a prescription from my doctor and B) I bought the pump from a participating medical supply store. A bit of a hassle to be sure, but I was able to get a Medela double electric pump that has now lasted me through nursing two babies without any issues.

Although healthcare legislation requires most medical insurance plans to cover the cost of a pump, sometimes the process can be more complicated and time-consuming than my experience. And in any case, what new or expectant mother wants to spend her time filling out paperwork or making phone calls?

Enter Pumping Essentials. This company, run by moms, handles the logistics for you. All you have to do is fill out the registration form on their website, choose a brand of pump, and let Pumping Essentials take care of getting the prescription from your doctor’s office, filing the claim with your insurance company, and mailing you the pump.

Best of all, Pumping Essentials offers a free or discounted hands-free pumping bra (Simple Wishes is our favorite)  with every pump purchase, and provides discounts on other pumping and breastfeeding items such as pump/diaper bags, milk storage supplies, etc. So if you are in need of a breast pump, visit pumpingessentials.com and let someone else navigate the insurance process for you.

A C-section is not something that every mom-to-be plans for. Though many moms, especially after their first child, opt for a C-section, for most it can come as a surprise. My husband and I just had our second child via C-section, and the whole experience including the recovery was much different than with our first who was delivered vaginally. I found myself coming home from the hospital feeling completely different, and needing different types of remedies to help my body recover. So whether you're planning a C-section or have to have one unexpectedly, here are some helpful tips to help your at home recovery.

1- PILLOWS 

Pillows are your friend. After my C-section, I surrounded myself with pillows. When you have a C-section, you quickly realize how much the core muscles engage during simple everyday acts, such as sneezing, coughing and laughing. If you hold a pillow over your stomach when you feel a cough or sneeze coming on it can soften the blow. Watching a TV comedy was not fun when every time I laughed I felt a twinge at my incision. So I kept pillows nearby and grabbed one when I started to laugh. The pillow trick also saved me from the pain when going over a speed bump or hitting a pot hole. You may also want to use a nursing pillow, such as a boppy, to prevent your baby from sitting right on your incision while you're nursing. This will stop any irritation and make nursing more comfortable.

2- ABDOMINAL SUPPORT

Wear abdominal support. While you're in the hospital, your doctors will most likely offer you a belly binder. Take it, use it, love it. Not only does it help train your belly to go back into position and shrink your uterus, but it can also give you the support you need to get up and move around. The doctor will tell you to get moving as soon as possible, but it's tricky when your abs are out of commission. The binder tightens around your core and makes it easier to pull yourself up. Once you've been home a few days, the hospital grade binder may be too large and cumbersome to wear, so you can switch to a pair of high waisted compression underwear, like these C-Panty High Waist C-Section Recovery Panty from Upspring Baby:

 

Both the binder and support underwear will also provide a barrier between your incision and your clothes, keeping it free from irritation.

3- SAY YES

Just say yes. Delivering a baby takes its toll no matter how it happens, and you cannot do it without family and friends for support. With a C-section you'll need help in new ways. For the first few weeks, you should plan to have someone else drive you around. Driving can be painful (remember the potholes and speed bumps?), and can tug at your stitches. You are also limited on what you can lift. Most doctors say no more than a baby in a carrier, but even that amount of weight can be difficult the first couple weeks. Having someone around to help with the lifting is a life saver. Bending over to pick things up will also be tricky so forget about cleaning by yourself. Let a spouse or others who offer take care of that. You may also want to schedule someone to help with other kids, especially if they are super active. Running and chasing a toddler is not gonna work when you're healing from a C-section. For your sanity and the sanity of your other children, organize play dates and outings with someone you trust. It will help to get your child's wiggles out and allows you time to relax. The people who love you want to help. Say yes when they ask, and you will be much happier.

We've teamed up with Upspring Baby to give away an Undercover Mama and a C-Panty!

C Section Giveaway

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